PORTSMOUTH — Of course, there’s those black-tie affairs, but consider the Southeast District’s Division II sectional boys tennis tournament to be an Orange and Black affair.
That’s because, with Wheelersburg qualifying a total of four individuals to next Saturday’s Southeast-East District Tournament in Portsmouth, the Pirates —in a way — play host with two singles competitors and one doubles team partaking.
This season, two Scioto County courts — at Shawnee State University and Portsmouth High School’s Trojan Plaza complex —were Wednesday’s site for the sectional finals, along with Tuesday’s preliminary rounds.
Wheelersburg was the only Scioto County school to advance any individuals —as senior Logan Davis finished third in the singles tournament, while junior Nathan Sylvia in singles and fellow juniors Preslee Etterling and Alex Thomas in doubles took fifth for both brackets.
For Davis, he is a two-time district qualifier —having also punched his ticket to the 12-man Division II tournament as a sophomore.
Of course, he could have, and likely would have, been a three-time sectional placer —but unfortunately the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the 2020 spring sports seasons because of the coronavirus threat.
From the Southeast sectional, eight singles players and eight doubles teams advance to the district meet —which is being contested right back along the Ohio River, after many years just yards beyond the smaller Hocking.
Portsmouth, in both boys in the spring and girls in the fall campaign, is now the host site after Ohio University in Athens opted out.
For the Pirates, that’s almost like playing home matches, given Wheelersburg is less than 10 miles away from the campuses of PHS and SSU.
With Wednesday’s finals, Davis defeated Ethan Crabtree of Jackson— before winning a marathon three-set third-place match over Athens’ Ben Castelino.
The senior standout and the Pirates’ top singles player in the regular season dropped his first set 7-6 (8-6), but roared back to win the final two sets 6-2 and 6-4.
Before facing Castelino, Davis dropped his semifinal contest against Athens’ other singles competitor —Rayan Kalyango by a 6-0 and 6-1 count.
In his first finals bout, as all eight individuals AND doubles teams which competed on Wednesday are automatic district qualifiers, Davis swept Crabtree by identical 6-2 and 6-2 scores.
Waverly’s Penn Morrison marched his way to the singles sectional championship, sweeping Evan Stapleton of Gallia Academy (6-0, 6-1) —before sweeping Castelino (6-1, 6-1) in the semifinals and finally Kalyango (6-0, 6-2) in the title tilt.
For Sylvia, he was unfortunately Kalyango’s first Wheelersburg victim before Davis, losing that quarterfinal 6-4 and 6-0.
But he bounced back to take his final two matches in straight-set sweeps — over Crabtree 6-0 and 6-4, and finally over Waverly’s Mark Stulley 6-2 and 6-4 for fifth place.
Stulley (sixth), Stapleton (seventh) and Crabtree (eighth) rounded out the eight-man singles seeds.
In doubles, Thomas and Etterling lost in their quarterfinal — to Logan Elm’s tandem of Ian Berger and Xander Carroll 6-2 and 6-1.
But dropping into the losers’ bracket, the Pirates picked up two straight-set sweeps to take fifth —defeating Matt Davis and Erickson Barnes of Ironton 6-4 and 6-0 before winning over Washington Court House’s pair by identical 6-2 and 6-2 tallies.
Waverly completed a championship sweep as Caden Nibert and Waylan Lamerson swept teams of Ironton (6-0, 6-3), Athens (6-4, 6-1) and finally Jackson (6-4, 6-2) en route to the doubles crown.
Trent Wolford and Joe Crabtree from Jackson were the runners-up, followed by Berger and Carroll of Logan Elm in third and Jay Choi and Luke Frost of Athens for fourth.
Thomas and Etterling — often times representing the Pirates as the second and third singles players respectively — ended up ahead of Washington Court House and the two Ironton teams (Davis and Barnes seventh and Tayden Carpenter and Evan Koerper eighth) .
The Southeast sectional placers will now be joined on Saturday (May 22) by four qualifiers (both singles and doubles) from the East District —with the district tournament’s first serve set for 10 a.m.
There is one distinct difference of course, as the Southeast-East District meet is single-elimination for the dozen qualifiers —with only the district champion and runner-up advancing to the state.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved